it is exactly one month before my seventeenth birthday and I am standing in the road under dim streetlights that remind me of the candles that glow from the windows in the winter.
your silhouette beckons me from across the way and I drift towards it, executing each step slowly like a surgeon, although there's no need for silence anymore. it is 2:05 in the morning and I have left my house in the dead of night. I slip into the car and the welcoming aroma of menthol cigarettes and dr pepper engulfs me and I smile for the first time in a while. I am not afraid. I am not sad. I am home.
this right here is the part many will never understand. home is not made of four brick walls and a sturdy tin roof. it is not a fireplace or picture frames or a warm bed. home is where you feel like you belong. it is where you are loved. cared for. needed. this is my calling and I've reached out to answer it. this is the family I never had.
three hours in a messy car does not grind down my spirits of this little vacation I've begun. I have smoked half a pack and kissed you much less than id like to, but your presence brings the greatest peace of mind.
upon arrival, I take escape to the porch to see the waves lapping beautifully upon the shore and I think that I will miss this when I have to leave. it is 5 a.m. and the sun has not yet risen. we take shots of cheap tequila in celebration and pretend that they are water. only looking back on this do I realize what a hilarious irony it holds. in childhood, many of us would pretend that pretzels were cigarettes and take ***** shots with the caps of our water bottles. maybe this small act is a form of regression. maybe were all still children.
everyone begins to make music as inspiration spills onto them and I watch in awe. at 6 a.m. we are down on the beach. I do not remember how I got there. I can only remember seeing you sit high on the lifeguard stand, a king, looking down at the world as if it were yours, and I wish I could give it to you. my wind beaten cheeks meet the horizon as I topple into the sand in fits of laughter and happiness; I wish I could bottle this feeling so I would never lose it. Joy is a foreign language to me. others seem to comprehend it and spill it from their mouths so simply, while I do not understand a single syllable.
I don't remember how we arrived back inside. everyone seperated. we climbed into the bed that an old friend had broken and made love as the sun rose. it cut sharp through the glass door behind us and sprayed waves of light on my skin like liquid gold. I am thinking this could be the last time, I am hoping it is not. we fall asleep not long after, and this piece of communion that was placed so gently on my tongue dissolves and the bitter taste in my mouth begins as soon as I wake, a few hours later.
day two is a chapter I would most likely title: The Panic. it does not begin right away. our day mostly consists of laying on the beach and kicking sand at one another like ratty, wild dogs, forcing each other into the pit of frozen waters, and making bets we will never go through with. around this time news has reached me that my mother and father have the police looking for me. I try to push it towards the back of my head.
but you see, the inner depths of my mind are already flooded with sinister ideas and broken secrets I may never share, and this panic tip-toes throughout my body and sets into my bones, weighing me down as if I had boulders in my pockets.
I am told to "calm down, everything will be Okay." when tears frequently line my eyes in silence. they continue to tell me this when we find ourselves in the kitchen scrambling to pack our things because we've heard the cops are coming for me. they also tell me this when I'm screaming apologies and holding your hand in the backseat of the car. they tell me it when I say goodbye at a nearby park and give hugs I think may be my last for a while. but the thing about this statement is, I am always calm. I am in a numb state of inner silence hungering for bliss and just four little days of freedom. but nothing will ever be Okay, no matter how long I've gone away.
the walk home, only a mile, was beyond limits of the word beautiful. the stars were practically beaming and the air was cold but in the good way like a puppies nose when it's kissing your face. or like mist falling from the sky on a summer night. I don't believe in God or any higher power, but I take this walk home as a sign that maybe everything will be okay when I walk back into that house.
if I could describe how the weather should have been that night to match the actions that played out when I arrived, they would be along the lines of destruction. trees ripped from the ground with their roots showing. winds sweeping the roofs off this suburbian wasteland. lighting strikes bringing on raging fires. it must've looked like that to match the look in my fathers eyes. thunder should've accompanied the sound of him shoving my sore body against the wall. pulling my long brown hair and tossing me to the floor like the garbage I was.
the full wave of panic washes onto me in that moment. for some reason I thought of the father I once had that didn't drink every night with his girlfriend, the only one that ever seemed to matter anymore. I thought of the father before he left my mother. I thought of him banging scratched pots in the sink and slamming doors with the strength of one thousand men and shouting with the voice of a man with a million sources of pain. I thought of how he tried to leave us once. and then how he really left us. I wish he could understand. to me, this is the ultimate level of hypocrisy. I am persecuted for leaving the man that left me in my time of need.
I am almost relieved when he says I must talk to the police. I have never been a fan of the flashing red and blue lights and the uniformed men who are paid to protect you but only arrest you. I believe they do mostly harm to many innocent people. you may not understand this. you may not know how it feels to walk up to this figure with the badge and want to tell him everything, to see if some shred of understanding lies beneath the deep cold stare in his eyes. but he only accuses me and attacks me with loose words that do not phase me. he does not let me speak. he is not here to help.
and so starts the beginning of the end. finally reaching the point where I am as trapped as I have always felt on the inside. the only question I keep getting asked is "why did you do it?" and I have yet to answer this. maybe I was homesick for a place that did not really exist. maybe I thought I would find salvation in a bed id never slept in but already loved more than my own. maybe I thought it was too repulsing for the two people who brought me onto this earth to be one of many reasons I desperately wanted to leave it.
I would love to tell them, my parents. everything. the abuse, the drugs, the cutting, the suicide attempt, the hell that eats me away everyday...they should know. but when your mother laughs when your doctor tells her that you show signs of major depression, you tend to believe this is just a game to her. talking to false friends on the phone and playing rich sports will always be more important. my fathers favorite tv shows and nightly few bottles of wine will overpower my tears and pleads for help. I am always stuck in an all knowing silence that everyone takes for stupidity. I've always said "darkness is my only friend now" but I think that night time is too beautiful to be an aquaintance of mine, and my friends are the Family by my side when my fists are full of blades and my feet are on the edge. I think this is the type of darkness that welcomes me as I wake every morning and sleep every night. it is the only place I know on this gigantic prison called earth. it settles inside of me and runs through my veins. it is carved in the walls of my skull and keeps my heart beating in a steady, empty rhythm. home, sweet home.
this is the story of how I ran away. I figured id write it all down now so I don't forget. I hope I never forget.